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Last Updated: Friday, 11 March, 2005, 17:16 GMT
Mosul bomb attack victims buried
Scene in Mosul after the suicide bombing
Sunni militants often target Shia Iraqis in the hope of provoking sectarian violence
Shia Iraqi victims of Thursday's suicide bomb attack on funeral mourners in the city of Mosul have been buried in separate funerals.

Earlier, officials and relatives called off plans for a large joint funeral procession because of fears it might be targeted by insurgents.

This followed a mortar blast on Friday at the site of the original attack.

Also on Friday, the US military said the death toll of the explosion had risen to at least 50, with 80 wounded.

Of the wounded, at least 10 suffered serious injuries and were taken to a US military hospital.

Shia Iraqis have been the target of several attacks over the last few months in Mosul, a mainly Sunni city with a powerful insurgent presence.

Shia targeted

Sunni Muslim insurgents have attacked Shia Muslims all over Iraq in an attempt to spark a civil war along religious lines.

Iraq map showing Mosul

Shia and Sunni leaders have appealed for calm.

The office of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most senior Shia cleric in Iraq, called for "unity and solidarity among all Iraqis despite the attacks targeting the innocent".

The bomber struck on Thursday as mourners crowded into a hall next to the Shia mosque.

The attack was at the Shahidain mosque, which is surrounded by cheap housing in Mosul's central Tameem neighbourhood.

Witnesses described seeing a ball of fire and hearing a huge explosion inside the courtyard of the mosque, which is still under construction.

"After the cloud of smoke and dust dispersed, we saw the scattered bodies of the fallen and smelled gunpowder," Adnan al-Bayati, a 45-year-old witness, said.

The force of the blast shattered car windows and left pools of blood on the ground.

Disturbing scenes as bombers target Shia funeral


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